The Woodbury girls’ divers don’t cheer the loudest for great dives during practices. The biggest hoots echo after a diver “smacks,” hitting the water hard on a not-quite-right dive.
It’s just one way these divers support each other, and one reason coach Sherry Gross loves her job.
“Coming here to this atmosphere, I look forward to it,” Gross said.
Woodbury’s seven-diver team went into its final dual meet boasting a 10-0 record, led by juniors Meghan Miller and Ali Grinde and senior Erin Brino.
“Those three together are great,” Gross said. “They do take a lot of their time working with the younger girls. That’s true leadership.”
Second-year captain Miller sees it as payback; she had role models when she joined the team as a seventh-grader.
Miller is undefeated this season. Her meet scores range from 264 to 275, “true consistency” as her coach calls it. This year she’s worked on increasing her dives’ degree of difficulty.
Last year she won the Class 2A, Section 3 meet and finished sixth at state. She ranks first on the Woodbury top-20 11-dive list and is second on the top-20 six-dive list.
All of the conference victories “don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things,” Miller said.
“Diving’s not all about the points. You’re also supposed to have fun.”
Miller was a gymnast, but when it got to be too hard on her body, she switched to diving, which she enjoys much more.
“That adrenaline rush where you’re just flipping and going through the air,” she said. “I like that kind of stuff. And diving’s the next closest thing.”
Brino and Grinde have paved successful paths as well. Brino averages 216 points, while Grinde averages 193.
Brino is a three-time all-conference honorable mention pick. Her personal best score this season was 231.80 for six dives, good enough for the ninth-best diver for Woodbury since the school opened. She describes herself as “a twister girl.”
“I love flipping around,” she said. “I love twisting, and I just love the thrill I can get from it.”
Brino is focusing on that fourth section spot this year to qualify for the state meet. She finished sixth at sections last year.
“Erin has a really good chance of making it to state,” Grinde said.
Grinde started out swimming and diving in 2013. This is her second year as a full-time diver. She received the most improved award last season. The competition with her teammates shows her improvement.
“With Ali coming up now, it’s definitely been pushing me to be at the top of my game,” Brino said. “She’s kind of catching up to me now.”
Said Gross, “They all just fit together like a puzzle. They’ll push each other. This makes for great competition.”